Social Media Community Managers: The True Voice of the Brand


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Whether you represent a Fortune 100, blue chip brand or small business, in today’s digitally interconnected world, social media customer care is an integral part of gaining, retaining and growing customers. Since the world’s biggest brands receive millions of interactions on social media every day, many have come to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to help prioritize responses, deliver efficiencies and to focus human efforts. Technology can sift out a vast majority of interactions as inactionable – or not requiring of an agent to read, assess and respond. The remaining interactions that do merit additional review require highly skilled and trained community managers.

With technology making human interactions even more critical than in the past, how do companies identify and hire the right people to be social media customer care managers and agents? Here are a few things to look for in the hiring process:

Attentive and Proactive

    When a brand chooses someone to be their voice on social media, it is selecting that individual to represent their business to a potentially huge audience.
    When a customer calls a company on the phone, it’s a one-to-one, private conversation that is rarely recorded and shared again. When a customer posts on social media, it’s a one-to-a million conversation and it will live online forever.
    The advantage social media agents have over phone agents is that they can see the customer’s social profile and how the customer portrays themselves to the world. In real-time they can see what other brands they follow, what activities they’re interested in, if they have children, pets and more. All of this helps an agent determine the best response to meet the consumer where they are. Knowing how to access and read these profiles with a careful attention to detail is a critical skill for a social media agent or manager.

Empathic, Creative and Witty

    Every social interaction that a brand has with a consumer has the potential to go viral – sometimes in a positive way, sometimes negative. Having agents who are naturally empathetic is tablestakes but especially important when consumers are sharing frustrations or negative feedback.
    Social customer care agents are on the frontline for a brand and when consumers expect a nearly instant response, having a fast-thinking agent with excellent social skills and natural empathy will greatly decrease the possibility of a negative interaction that could go viral.
    Conversely, when a consumer is sharing positive feedback, it is important to have an agent that is capable of being creative in-the-moment, takes advantage of the opportunity to deepen the relationship and enhance loyalty and someone who communicates in way that delights the consumer.
    In fact, the best opportunities for many companies to amplify positive messaging is to respond to those positive or neutral consumer posts that don’t actually require a response. These unexpected interactions are categorized as “joy shares” and offer creative, quick-thinking agents the chance to inject a little wit and humor to turn a neutral comment into a moment of delight for a consumer. As joy share interactions increase, so does brand loyalty, driving true business impact and even unanticipated return on investment.

Digitally-Native and Diverse

    It goes without saying that digital prowess is a must-have when it comes to hiring for social media customer care. The skills, capabilities and understanding required to do the job don’t have to be developed from formal training or education, but they do have to be solid. In fact, many of the best social customer care agents don’t have a college degree; they have life experiences and personality traits that are naturally engaging with the consumer audience. For example, people who spend a lot of time interacting with gaming communities or individuals with a particular affinity for pop culture often excel in the role of social media customer care agents. Why is that? Because they can relate to consumers on a personal level and succeed in delivering empathetic care and amplifying joy share.
    Building a team with a broad spectrum of economic levels, education levels, age, race, ethnicity and regional demographic gives your care team the opportunity to create real, human connection and offer the customer the best engagement every time – thus delivering business value.
    The fact is, the more diverse a care team is, the better prepared it is to manage a range of perspectives and interactions.

While technology like AI and RPA can help us simplify processes, optimize results and enable more satisfying human interactions through social media, nothing will ever replace the need to identify talent with the right balance of empathy, creativity, wit and tech-savviness to be the trusted voice of a brand or business in social channels.

Amanda Sternquist
Amanda Sternquist, Executive Director of Social Care Practice, leads the strategy and execution of the HGS EPIC™ social care operation around the globe. She provides thought leadership to clients, sets the strategic direction for the practice, drives technical/creative excellence and supports sales and solutioning teams. Amanda brings with her nearly two decades of social media marketing, customer care, and innovation experience in the customer service industry.


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